True West

9780803259768: Paperback
Release Date: 1st May 2007

28 photos, 1 illustration, index

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 372

Series Postwestern Horizons

UNP - Nebraska

True West

Authenticity and the American West

Paperback / £16.99

In no other region of the United States has the notion of authenticity played such an important yet elusive role as it has in the West. Though pervasive in literature, popular culture, and history, assumptions about western authenticity have not received adequate critical attention. Given the ongoing economic and social transformations in this vast region, the persistent nostalgia and desire for the “real” authentic West suggest regional and national identities at odds with themselves. True West explores the concept of authenticity as it is used to invent, test, advertise, and read the West.

The fifteen essays collected here apply contemporary critical and cultural theory to western literary history, Native American literature and identities, the visual West, and the imagining of place. Ranging geographically from the Canadian Prairies to Buena Park’s Entertainment Corridor in Southern California, and chronologically from early tourist narratives to contemporary environmental writing, True West challenges many assumptions we make about western writing and opens the door to an important new chapter in western literary history and cultural criticism.

William R. Handley is an associate professor of English at the University of Southern California. He is the author of Marriage, Violence, and Nation in the American Literary West. Nathaniel Lewis is an associate professor of English at Saint Michael’s College and the author of Unsettling the Literary West: Authenticity and Authorship (Nebraska 2003).